Cracking up! Mancini snubs Pulis and media after Man City stutter in title race
22:45 GMT, 24 March 2012
Battered and bruised Manchester City were left fuming by Stoke’s physical approach after suffering a major blow to their Premier League title dreams by being held to a 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium.
Manager Roberto Mancini was so enraged by Stoke’s treatment of his team that he refused to shake hands with rival manager Tony Pulis at the end of the game and asked assistant David Platt to speak to the media while he attempted to cool down.
Fuming: Roberto Mancini after the final whistle
Mancini was furious at the manner in
which Mario Balotelli appeared to be targeted by Stoke defenders, while
David Silva suffered a cut ear and was forced to wear a head bandage
after being hit by Dean Whitehead’s elbow as they challenged for a
header. ‘Robbie is worried that he might say something that gets him in
hot water,’ said Platt. ‘It is very difficult when you come here and you
look for a bit of protection.
‘You know Stoke are going to compete and go for every ball. But after 90
minutes like that, you might get a different view if you watch it back
on the video. I wouldn’t accuse the player of going for David Silva, I
think he’s just competitive and that’s just the way they play.’
Difference of opinion: Mancini and Stoke manager Tony Pulis (left) clash on the touchline
Stoke’s tactics ensured City were far from their best and after a Peter
Crouch wonder goal broke the deadlock in the second half, the striker
teeing up the ball then volleying in from 32 yards, it took a deflected
Yaya Toure shot to earn a point and leave City top on goal difference,
having played a game more than title rivals Manchester United.
Platt shrugged off suggestions that the mind games played by United
manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who claimed City were desperate for recalling
Carlos Tevez to their ranks, were responsible for the slip-up.
Dejected: Manchester City players react to dropping two points at Stoke
Platt said: ‘You don’t win the league through mind games, it’s about
players going onto the pitch to win and gain points and if we have more
points than them at the end of the season, everyone will perceive that
Robbie has won that war of words.’
Stoke manager Pulis dismissed Mancini’s refusal to shake his hand,
saying: ‘He’s got to do what he’s got to do.’ Pulis claimed Stoke should
have had a first-half penalty for a Gareth Barry challenge on Glenn
Up for it: Peter Crouch celebrates scoring Stoke's goal at the Britannia Stadium
Asked about Stoke’s approach, Pulis added: ‘If people want to question
their commitment, honesty and togetherness then so be it, but they are
an honest group of players who work very, very hard. I thought Peter
Crouch was fantastic tonight, the best player on the pitch. It was a
fantastic goal, but he’s a technically-gifted lad.’